Her withdrawal then was a great disservice to the party
It is being reported that Andrea Leadsom is ready to stand if there is move within the parliamentary party to try to anoint a successor to GE2017 failure, TMay, without the necessity of going through a full fledged leadership contest.
The Tory leadership election system dates back to William Hague’s days in the 1997-2001 parliament with the final choice being made by via a members’ postal ballot from a shortlist of two agreed by the party’s MPs.
A year ago Leadsom had, through a series of well documented freak circumstances, made it to the final two and was all set for the next leader and PM to be decided by members’ ballot.
However she pulled out of the contest after an unfortunate interview with Rachel Sylvestor of the Times when she appeared to suggest that she was better qualified to be leader because unlike TMay, she was a mother.
Leadsom’s decision meant that TMay got the job by default and was never tested fighting for the support of party members – an experience, I’d suggest suggest that would have prepared her better for leading the party at a general election.
May would have had to go through hustings meetings with Leadsom, TV debates and tough probing interviews – all things that the very private Mrs May finds hard to deal with. It would have been much harder ducking out of Woman’s Hour in a leadership contest than as an incumbent PM.
But the overall experience would have honed her up and made her more cautious about calling a general election.
Given what we now know about how the PM performs under such electoral scrutiny there’s also a possibility that TMay might not have beaten Leadsom who did well for her side in her public appearances during the EU referendum.
You can get Leadsom at 20/1 on Betfair to be TMay’s successor.